Brutally Honest Oscar Voter Ballot No. 7

Twenty Feet From Stardom

U.S.A. (Director: Morgan Neville)

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight.  Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead – until now.

This is the seventh of eight "brutally honest" Oscar ballots shared with THR by Academy members, one of which will post each day leading up to the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, March 2. (Also available for you to review: the first, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth.) Beware of spoilers. And remember: these voters' views are not necessarily endorsed by Scott Feinberg or THR.

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VOTER PROFILE: This Oscar voter is a longtime member of the Academy's 450-member executives branch.

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My favorites were Her, which is about the future, and Nebraska, which is about the past. Gravity I liked very much because I'd never seen anything like it and I just love George Clooney -- but when she [Sandra Bullock] climbed out of the water I thought, "This is where an alligator is gonna get her." Dallas Buyers Club is a good movie with something important to say. I had problems with American Hustle. The best thing in it was that scene with Robert De Niro; I didn't find any of the characters particularly likable. The Wolf of Wall Street? N.O. I did not like that movie. And I have not been able to bring myself to watch 12 Years a Slave. [I pressed the member to explain why.] Here is my problem: As you know, I am a senior. I have a lot of stuff in my head [I believe this is a reference to death]. What I don't want is more terrible stuff to keep in my head. I have never liked movies that have severe violence. Yes, I saw Schindler's List, but -- Look, I've lived long enough to know what it was like for a person to be a black person in America. I mean, it's not anything that I'm not aware of. I may still go and see it [the film], but I just don't want to. Is that terrible? At 5 o'clock tonight I'm gonna watch Going My Way on TCM. That's my kind of a movie -- even if Bing Crosby was actually a bad person. Is there one picture this year that makes you feel better?

MY PICKS: (1) Her, (2) Nebraska, (3) Gravity, (4) Dallas Buyers Club

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I just loved that movie [Nebraska].

MY PICK: Alexander Payne


I didn't like Leonardo [DiCaprio]'s or [Christian] Bale's movie. I liked Matthew McConaughey and I think he's gonna win because he plays a guy who becomes a different guy from the guy he is when you begin to know him. But I was very impressed with Bruce Dern and I'm happy for him.

MY PICK: Bruce Dern (Nebraska)


I thought Sandra Bullock did a good job, but Cate Blanchett was on a level of her own.

MY PICK: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)


The only one I really liked was Jared Leto.

MY PICK: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)


I think June Squibb's performance was wonderful. It's such a complicated character to play -- a woman who seems a shrew and the worst wife in the world, but then you realize she was married to a man who's an alcoholic and not the best husband in the world, but she really loves him. Her life didn't turn out the way she wanted it to, so she got more bitter. And the fact that she is 80 [actually 84] and was, of course, Electra in Gypsy, only makes me want her to win more. I think Jennifer Lawrence will probably win, though; she's absolutely wonderful in the movie. August: Osage County was a bad play and a bad movie, so no Julia Roberts.

MY PICK: June Squibb (Nebraska)


I don't think The Wolf of Wall Street is a good screenplay. Philomena I liked.

MY PICK: Philomena


I actually read all of the screenplays and Her is clearly the best. I liked Nebraska, but that had more to do with the actors than the script. I didn't really like the way they told the story in American Hustle.



I did not see all of the nominees.

MY PICK: I abstain.


20 Feet From Stardom has been well publicized and I liked it very much. Those women featured in the film are delightful. I wish it had focused more on Phil Spector, though, who was the worst person in the world and should have been in jail long before he got there. My friends tell me The Square is one of the best documentaries that they ever saw, but I haven't had a chance to see it.

MY PICK: 20 Feet From Stardom


I saw all five. I like Omar. I also like The Great Beauty a lot, but a lot of my friends who vote walked out on it because they felt it was boring. But I think The Hunt is brilliant; it is about how easily we, in society today, believe lies.

MY PICK: The Hunt


I don't vote for this category because what do I know about songs? The Mandela song could win because it offers a good liberal philosophy of the world. The Frozen song will probably win. I saw Pharrell [Williams] on the Grammys and I thought he was very clever. And I wouldn't mind seeing Her win something -- is Her gonna win anything?

MY PICK: I abstain.

[Note: This voter was only available to discuss her selections in the aforementioned categories.]

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg